Roxana is considered to be part of the Riverbend or Metro East area, including Alton, East Alton, Godfrey, Rosewood Heights, Bethalto, Wood River, Hartford and South Roxana. Roxana is known for its smell, being located in the midst of four oil refineries. It is also well-known for its bright Christmas lights, lining Illinois Route 111, its main street, throughout the holiday season each year. The zip code for Roxana is 62084.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 6.8 square miles (17.7 km²), of which, 6.8 square miles (17.6 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.29%) is water.
The nearest interstate highway is Interstate 270, approximately six miles to the south, although Illinois Route 255 is a controlled access highway, meeting federal interstate standards. Easy access can be had to Interstate 55, Interstate 70 and Interstate 64.
Illinois Route 111 (Central Avenue) is the main route through Roxana. It is a four lane, non-divided highway throughout the village, and boasts of the only two stoplights in town (located at Central Avenue's intersections with Thomas Street and Tydeman Street).
Starting at one end of town and proceeding from north to south, the cross streets, all of which run from east to west, of Roxana are: Rohm Place, Thomas Street, Elm Street, Walnut Street, Tydeman Street, First Street, Second Street, Third Street, Fourth Street, Fifth Street, Sixth Street, Seventh Street and Eighth Street. Rohm Place, Elm Street and Walnut Street run only west of Maple Avenue; the others traverse the village from east to west.
Starting at one end of town and proceeding from east to west, the streets of Roxana, all of which run from north to south, are: Chaeffer Avenue, Doerr Avenue, Central Avenue, Reller Avenue, Maple Avenue, McCurdy Avenue, Clark Avenue, and Old Edwardsville Road. Doerr runs only north of Tydeman, as does Reller. Maple runs only north of Fourth Street. McCurdy runs only south of Tydeman and north of Third Street. Clark runs only north of the alley between Elm and Thomas Streets. Chaeffer Avenue runs along the former Shell Refinery fence along the east side of the village. Old Edwardsville Road runs along the former Standard Refinery fence along the west side of the village.
Illinois Route 255 was completed in 1998 and runs through the eastern portion of the village limits, east of the ConocoPhillips refinery. Although the village has plans to develop the area near Route 255, this has not yet occurred.
There were 655 households out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.4% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.92.
In the village the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.8 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $38,800, and the median income for a family was $45,500. Males had a median income of $40,078 versus $27,045 for females. The per capita income for the village was $20,511. About 2.5% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.0% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.
Originally constructed on 336 acres, the refinery now covers 1888 acres, and is the largest in the ConocoPhillips system.
Local lore is that the name Roxana was chosen to honor Queen Roxanne of the Netherlands, inasmuch as the village owed its very existence to state owned Royal Dutch Shell. That seems unlikely, however, as there has never been a Queen Roxanne of the Netherlands. The Dutch monarch at the time was Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. More likely, the town owes its name to Roxana, one of the wives of Alexander the Great.
A Baptist Church was organized in September 1921, and the land where the current First Baptist Church of Roxana now stands at the corner of Tydeman Street and Central Avenue was purchased in early 1922. The first services were held there on December 3, 1922. J.A. Wilson served as the church's first pastor.
A formal Village Hall, called for by a vote for a "Municipal Building," was built on bonds in 1938. It currently houses Roxana's Village President, Treasurer, Water Department, and Clerk's offices, the fire and police departments, the Village board room, and a municipal gymnasium.
In the early 1940s, a large art deco style theater was built at the northwest corner of Thomas Street and Central Avenue, at 400 N. Central Avenue. To the south across Thomas Street lay Burbank School built in 1936, and cattecorner at the southeast corner lay Roxana Drug Store.
Seating approximately 580 people, the theater was originally designed for vaudeville acts as well as movie showings. In 1949, a tornado tore the roof off, but after repairs were made, the theater reopened. In the late 1960s, it was closed for nearly two years before being sold in June 1968 from the estate of Albert Critchlow to Bloomer Amusement Co. of Belleville. It was thereafter operated as BAC Cine for many years. In 1992, the Cine was purchased by Kerasotes Theatres, Inc., of Springfield, Illinois, which operated it until its closing in February 2002.
In 2000, the theatre was purchased from Kerasotes and was donated to the Roxana Church of the Nazarene, which is located just north of the theatre. The Church now operates the building as the Nazarene Community Center, where it is available for rental and group events.
Nearby colleges and universities include Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Principia College, a four year private college for Christian Scientists located in the Village of Elsah, and Lewis and Clark Community College. The Dental School of Southern Illinois University is located close by in the city of Alton.
In 1947, land was purchased for the purpose of Park and Recreation facilities and a softball diamond was constructed. The park is located in the northeastern part of the village, to the north and east of Roxana High School.
In 1952, the Park District was incorporated followed by the addition of a public swimming pool in 1957. Adjacent to the pool was a recreation area which included trampolines, miniature golf and donkey cart rides.
In 1959, additional land was purchased and a house was acquired from Shell Oil Company and moved to the property. This was the original meeting place of many community groups. When the house became too small to accommodate the needs of the people, the Rox-Arena was constructed in 1969. For many years, Roxana Park Director Lyle Dona lived in this house within the park.
In the years following, picnic shelters were added along with additional ball fields, concession stand, soccer field, playgrounds and bike/walking paths. The main park now is home to four baseball diamonds -- the High School Diamond, the Lighted Diamond, the South Diamond and the Picnic Diamond.
In 1993, Burbank Park was purchased from the school district. It now contains a baseball diamond, playground, picnic shelter, soccer field, basketball court and is the site of the annual Roxana Homecoming Festival held each May.
To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Park District, a new pool house was constructed in 2002.